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Flooding in Austin: How to Protect Your Austin Home or Business from Flood Damage

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage  Flooding in Austin: How to Protect Your Austin Home or Business from Flood Damage Flooding and flood damage in Austin can be extensive; discover some ways to protect your Austin home or business from flood damage.

A Guide to Preventing Your Austin TX Property from Flooding

Flooding is something that no one should ever have to deal with, but it does happen. Austin is no stranger to flooding; the downtown area has experienced numerous floods throughout the years, with some being very severe and costing hundreds of lives and millions of dollars in flood damage restoration and repairs.

Aside from its somewhat hilly terrain, Austin remains a very flood prone area, as it has the potential for run off, which can cause flash flooding as well. In fact, flash floods are probably the biggest disaster threat to the Austin TX area.

When flooding occurs in your Austin home or business, you can end up with an extensive amount of water damage, and you'll likely need water extraction done, along with water damage restoration Austin.

The quicker the flooding problem is addressed, the better off you'll be, as the longer you wait to contact a flood restoration company, the better chance there is that mold and bacteria will begin forming.

If you've experienced flooding in your Austin property, it would be a good idea to have a mold inspection done; if it turns out mold has begun to grow, you could need mold remediation done. This is one of the reasons why it's very important to address any type of flood damage quickly. This guide on the common types of mold in Austin and their various levels of danger may help you in figuring out if mold has begun growing on your property.

When your Austin property has already been the victim of flooding, a company that specializes in water restoration and mold removal/remediation in Austin, like our SERVPRO team, can guide you on the necessary steps and provide the various services needed. 

But how do you prevent flooding before it even happens in your property? Well, here are some tips on doing just that, as well as helping you understand why Austin TX can often be very prone to flooding and flood damage in general.

Why Is Austin Prone to Floods?

Austin’s topography is what makes the city a prime candidate for flooding. For example, the Balcones Fault is a cliff formation that runs from Del Rio in Val Verde County up towards Dallas. Part of it is situated in the Texas Hill Country and it serves as a gateway of sorts for passing weather systems that travel through the Gulf of Mexico. When an air mass changes its altitude (called an Orographic Lift), clouds and precipitation can develop which eventually leads to heavy rain and resulting storm damage in areas, like Austin TX, that lie west of the fault.

On average, Austin gets up to 34.25 inches of rain per year. However, with less rain, the soil in the surrounding areas becomes dry and it becomes more difficult for the soil to accept so much water. And that's when the flooding begins.

Some Notorious Austin Floods

Throughout the years, Austin has experienced many serious floods that have caused extensive damage and loss of life. Here are just a few examples of severe storms that greatly affected the Austin TX area and led to extensive flooding:

  • In July 1869, Austin experienced 64 hours of continuous rain, which caused the Colorado River to rise up to 51 feet.
  • In 1900, the Austin Dam, which was built in 1893, burst due to excessive rain. The Dam’s powerhouse was flooded by a 40-foot wave after which downtown Austin was immersed with water with creeks reaching levels of 20 feet.
  • Heavy rains caused numerous floods in 1935, 1936 and 1938; each flood caused the Colorado River to overflow, which resulted in extensive flood damage in Central Austin.
  • One of the worst storms to hit Austin was during Memorial Day, 1981. Ten inches of rain fell in a four hour timeframe, causing Downtown Austin to flood severely. Thirteen people died during the storm, which also left more than $35 million in damages.
  • The Memorial Day flood of 2015 greatly affected Central Texas. Heavy rain caused many flooded streets, falling trees and extensive loss of power for many in the Austin area. Flash flood warnings were issued and residents were instructed to stay indoors and off the roads. Water levels in Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake quickly rose due to the extensive water. Interstate 35 was flooded, as was downtown Austin later that day. Fourteen people died during the course of the flood.

What You Can Do to Lessen Your Chances of Flood Damage in Austin

Flooding is not restricted to any one particular area. It can happen anywhere, and when it’s least expected, which is why certain types of flooding are called ‘flash floods.’

While you may not know when a flood is coming, it’s important to be prepared. If you get weather alerts on your cell phone, then you may have ample time to protect your personal items and prevent major damage from a flood.

If you know you're in a flood zone, one way you can safeguard against water damage caused by flooding is to elevate your personal items above the floor. Even one inch of water inside your home or business can create a major headache, and cause significant damage to your property.

If you’re not sure how high the water can reach in your area, you can check flood levels and maps for your area through the Federal Emergency Management System’s (FEMA) Flood Map portal on their website, or check with your insurance agent if you're in a flood zone. Certain parts of Austin are more prone to flooding than others.

Even if your Austin home or business is located at a high elevation, it doesn't always mean you're in the clear, so here are some protective measures to minimize flood damage in your Austin home or business.

1. Protect Your Electrical Systems

Any electrical switches, circuit breakers, sockets, and wires should be raised at least one foot above the anticipated flood level. Should any water get into these systems, it can cause major problems.

You should also raise, if you can, your water heater and furnace so that they are also situated above the flood levels to avoid being saturated by floodwater. Please note: You should never,  ever try to do any of this yourself. Reach out to a contractor or an electrician to adjust the levels of these systems.

2. Elevate Any Outdoor Equipment

Any type of external fuel tanks, AC units, and generators, should not remain at ground level. These should be raised up to one foot above your base flood elevation and anchored to prevent any kind of flooding. If these aren’t properly secured, they can become loose, and cause contamination to your yard, as well as the surrounding area. If they become immersed with water, they will more or less be useless and unable to be repaired.

3. Check Your Water Valves

If your sewer becomes flooded during a storm, it can cause sewage to back up into your house, with disastrous consequences. Installing an interior or exterior backflow valve will help prevent a build up of unwanted waste from coming into your Austin home or business.

Backflow valves are designed to help protect potable water from contamination from backflow. A flap valve is designed to operate under low heads of water and basically provide the same function as a backflow valve. Check valves are formatted to allow liquid, such as water to pass in only one direction; there are many different varieties of check valves, which are also known as clack valves, non-return valves, reflux valves and gravity brakes.

If you don’t have any of these types of valves currently installed in your Austin property, then you should consult with a specialist on what type you should install to allow water to escape and prevent backflow from coming in.

4. Check Water Distribution and Your Austin Property's Structure

One way to affect the flow of water around your home or business in the event of a flood is to check and possibly alter the grading or sloping of your property. By angling the ground, you can actually shift how water comes in contact with your property. Of course this can be problematic if your house wasn’t originally built with this in mind. Still, if this does pose a problem, you can reach out to your county planning office to determine the grading of your property and find alternative methods for preventing flood water from making contact and managing water flow.

Creating a slight moat around your home or business in certain areas can also help, as can creating better irrigation for your property in general.

5. Some Effective, but Costly Measures to Protect Your Austin Home or Business from Flooding

If you have frequent flooding in your home, but you don't want to move to another home, there are a few more involved alternatives to prevent flooding, but they are quite costly.

  • Elevate your entire home: Many homes in coastal areas are elevated on columns that clear the flood level. If you have consistent flooding, this might be one option, but it can be very costly.
  • Believe it or not, you can actually wet proof your house. How? You can install foundation vents, which allow water to travel through your home, instead of accumulating inside and destroying your property. This would help prevent against possible flood damage. For example: if you had a house of 1,000 square feet, you’d need around 7 square feet of flood venting to protect your property.
  • One preventive method is to dry proof your Austin home or business. Plastic sheeting or any kind of waterproof film can be applied to exterior walls fairly easily to prevent flooding, but should be removed once any flooding or water damage is remediated. Any openings or cracks in walls should be remedied with a waterproof sealant to prevent any seepage from floodwater. Plastic sheeting can be used to seal up windows and create a barrier for any minor cracks that can cause drafts. Check and reinforce your walls to make sure that they can take on heavy amounts of water and miscellaneous debris. These measures, while a bit time-consuming can help keep water out of your house during a flood.

6. Additional Measures that Can Be Taken to Help Prevent Flood Damage to Your Property

Here are some additional ways to help protect your property in the event of an impending flood.

  • Clean out your gutters, drains and downspouts. Leaves and foreign objects cannot only prevent water flow, they can also cause run off down the side of your home and help initiate water damage.
  • If you have a second floor, move all of your furniture, rugs, electronics and anything else of value and importance upstairs as a safety precaution.
  • Turn off your electricity via your breaker panel.
  • Major appliances such as washers, dryers, stoves, etc., should all be lifted on to cinderblocks, if possible. This will help prevent them from being saturated with water.

We can’t emphasize enough how extremely dangerous floods can be. And while these preventive measures can help, it’s best not to tackle them on your own. If heavy equipment or electrical manipulation is involved, please contact a professional instead of tackling this on your own.

While these ideas can certainly help to prevent damage to your home or business during a flood, it should also be noted that any type of water ranging from heavy rain to a minor leak, could lead to extensive damage.

If your home or business experiences a flood and you have water damage and mold as a result, there is a chance that you can make minor repairs on your own. But if severe water damage has occurred, it makes sense to contact an outside source to help in the clean up and remediation.

Our SERVPRO Team Can Help With Austin Flood Damage Restoration & Repairs

If you need assistance with the flood damage you've experienced, then a flood damage restoration company like SERVPRO of East Central Austin can help. We're a team of trained & certified professionals, who are available around the clock to help with your flood, storm and water damage Austin needs.

Our goal is to properly restore your property (and make it "like it never even happened"). Damage from Austin storms and floods can be a stressful experience. We'll help you review the scope of your flood repairs, and utilizing state of the art equipment and scientific principles, we'll make the flood restoration process as painless as possible.

If you’ve experienced a flood in your Austin property and require flood damage repairs and restoration, remember, our SERVPRO team is available 24/7 to help.

How to Treat Mold in Austin

8/24/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation How to Treat Mold in Austin A Guide for Treating Mold in Austin

Mold in Austin: What to Do When You Discover Mold in Your Austin Home or Business

If your Austin home or business experiences unusual moisture in the air, or has experienced extensive water damage, then you can expect mold to make an appearance in the near future. Mold often appears in environments that consist of poorly ventilated spaces and high humidity. Flooding and ongoing leaks are also a major culprit of mold in Austin.

If you own a home or business in Austin, you may find that you’re dealing with serious mold issues, and you could have mold removal and mold remediation costs in the aftermath of flood a heavy storm, and/or after suffering from ongoing water damage.

While mold can be stopped, it’s virtually impossible to fully eliminate all mold spores inside a home or business, as mold is actually a naturally growing substance in the environment. However you can work to stop the spread of mold spores by controlling your Austin home or business’s moisture levels.

Austin Mold: A Growing Problem with Moisture and Humidity

Mold is microscopic, and can pretty much grow on anything, including paper, wood, drywall, food and carpets. If your home or business is properly vented, and if you use air conditioners and dehumidifiers, you can greatly reduce moisture buildup and improve ventilation to alleviate the presence of mold.

Mold: How It Can Hurt You

The possibility of suffering from serious health issues increases with the spread of mold. If ignored, and if you have health-related issues, such as asthma, respiratory issues or skin conditions like eczema, the results can be serious. Exposure to mold can give you symptoms, such as nasal and sinus congestion, coughing, sneezing, respiratory problems, and throat inflammation. If you even suspect the slightest appearance of mold, it should be managed and remediated immediately by a professional mold remediation company, like our SERVPRO team.

Most molds consist of organisms that are not actually dangerous. But, there are certain strains of mold, called mycotoxins, which thrive in damp environments like kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Some of these mycotoxins are actually quite dangerous, and can be very harmful if not properly addressed.

Different Types of Mold in Austin and Their Levels of Danger

Nobody likes mold, so if you’re a homeowner, or business owner in Austin, there are several kinds of indoor mold with strains that can cause great structural damage as well as physical harm. Of course it’s best to remove these types (or any type of mold for that matter) when they first appear.

There are many strains of mold in existence, but these are the four types of mold that most commonly appear in Austin homes and businesses.

  • One of the most common types of indoor mold is Cladosporium. As the spores are often found on outdoor plants, they are so microscopic that they can find their way indoors. Cladosporium has been known to be less harmful to humans than other types of mold (it tends to be pretty stinky), but if untreated, it can cause infections in the toenails, lungs and sinuses. It can appear in a variety of colors, such as olive green, black and brown.
  • While the antibiotic penicillin has helped millions fight bacterial infections, it derives from a form of mold called Penicillium. If you seen spoiled food in your refrigerator, then you’ve evidently encountered this type of mold, which grows indoors in low humidity and in places where there’s sufficient moisture.
  • If you have hay fever or asthma, then you might have been exposed to Alternaria: This type of fungi can grow on skin as well as in your mucous membranes and eyes. They also grow in colonies that are usually black, gray or grey. If you have respiratory issues or suffer from an autoimmune disease, Alternaria can cause serious problems.
  • You will often find Aspergillus in high oxygen environments and on foods such as vegetables and bread. There are a variety of different strains of this particular mold. Some can be toxic and can cause serious infections, while others are used in the fermentation of alcoholic drinks.
  • Stachybotrys chartarum: This specific mold is most commonly associated with water damage Austin. This black mold needs high moisture in order for it grow. It’s often found in building materials, such as wet gypsum and wallpaper. Not only can Stachybotrys chartarum affect your health, it can also be detrimental to the safety of your pets. As dangerous as this mold is, it should only be removed by mold remediation professionals.

If you know you have mold, but are unsure of what type of mold you have, you may want to start by having a professional mold inspection Austin.

Stopping Mold Before It Starts in Your Austin Home or Business

As harmful as mold can be, how do we prevent it? One way is to prevent the spread of humid air in your home or office, by using a dehumidifier and making sure that there is proper ventilation, especially when furniture is involved. Believe it or not, a couch leaning against a wall can actually prevent the flow of air, which in turn can cause mold to develop, especially if the air is humid.

If you have small problems with mold creeping in, it can be eliminated with regular cleaning of your home or office. Keep areas where there is moisture clean on a regular basis, like a shower or bathroom, and even the kitchen. The same goes for keeping your air ducts and vents clean, to avoid any moisture from settling in and creating problems: clean your vents frequently and change your AC filters once a month.

In addition to individual rooms in your home or business, your refrigerator is also not immune to the world of mold. If you have a well-stocked fridge, it’s inevitable that something will be overlooked and start to rot; this is especially true of fruit, which has a short shelf life, and if it’s ignored, it can dry out or begin to get moldy. Once any food in the fridge has passed it spoiling point, decomposition begins, and brings on mycotoxins. So, keep track of what's in your fridge, and if it starts to spoil, toss it out.

The problem with many older homes is that poor ventilation can bring about excessive mold if it’s not addressed. While most homes have central air conditioning, some older homes may not, and if the environment tends to be humid, without a dehumidifier or cross ventilation, there is a greater chance for humidity and mold to make an unwelcome appearance.

Most new and modern construction projects also use drywall, which can be extremely vulnerable to moisture. If not properly treated, the gypsum in drywall will eventually soften over time, and attract mold spores, which will be more difficult to clean over time.

In addition to internal mold issues, you should check the outside of your business or home for leaks in your roof, as well as making sure your gutters are properly cleaned out.

A leaky roof, if undetected for long periods of time, will eventually cause water to spread, and can lead to very costly repair and roof replacement. Cleaning out your gutters can also help prevent water from running down the side of your structure, which can affect the quality of your foundation.

Combustion appliances, such as furnaces, gas water heaters, fireplaces, space heaters, gas ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, and wood or coal-burning stoves should be inspected to make sure that they are properly vented.

Basic Mold Cleanup Procedures

Regardless of the cause, if you do experience any kind of water damage, you will need to clean and dry the areas quickly. Do not let the water damage continue, as a 24-48 hour window to clean and dry the areas in question is likely all you have before mold begins to grow and spread. If you have any standing water, be sure to have water extraction done in your Austin home or business if it is too much for you to remove on your own.

In most cases, minor mold spots can be removed with water and detergent, followed by letting it fully dry out. Carpeting, furniture and ceiling tiles, may not be as easy to remedy; in fact, you may have to dispose of them if the damage is too extreme. Eliminate any puddles of standing water that you come across; this not only can help spread mold, but it’s also a breeding ground for a variety of bugs and bacteria.

If mold removal becomes too much of a conquest for you to handle on your own, then you should contact a mold remediation specialist, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin, who can help in getting rid of the spread of mold, so that it’s no longer an issue.

Water Extraction and Water Damage Restoration in Austin: Tips and Tricks

7/3/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Extraction and Water Damage Restoration in Austin: Tips and Tricks Water damage from a flood.

Major Problems Connected with Water Damage

Believe it or not, there are many problems you can face while attempting water damage cleanup yourself; therefore, we must stress that you need to be cautious before even embarking on these procedures. When attempting water damage restoration & water extraction on your own, here are some issues that you may have to confront, with some tips on how to resolve them:

Water Damage in Austin Resulting in Electrical Problems

You can never be too careful when it comes to electricity once a flood or serious water damage has occurred in your Austin property. You need to check that all of your gas and electricity has been turned off prior to engaging in any type water extraction or any type of cleaning procedure revolving around water damage Austin.

Make sure that all of your circuits and switches are disconnected. The covers to your electrical outlets should also be removed to let the wiring dry out; also do this with your fuses and breakers to prevent any issues such as fires and smoldering. Once everything has dried, bring in an electrician to fully inspect all of the circuits for proper voltage, grounding and to be sure that they’re safe before you reconnect everything,

Our Austin SERVPRO company uses top-quality drying equipment for our water damage cleanup jobs. Keep in mind that if you're not entirely sure of the extent of your damage (remember, some effects of water damage may not be noticeable right away) then you should be safe and contact a professional water extraction and water damage restoration company, like our local SERVPRO team.

Mud: A Messy Contributor

Sadly, flooding can be a common occurrence in Austin, particularly in certain parts of Austin; you may find after a flood has invaded your home or business, that you're the victim of not just excessive amounts of water, but also mud. Heavy periods of rain can soak the ground causing dirt to loosen and be carried away, leaving mud as a result. Once mud begins to loosen it can grab everything within its reach and has a tendency to be very destructive. And yes, that means as a result of a flood here in Austin, you can be the victim of mudflow.

Should you have an encounter with mud in your Austin home or business, be very careful as it may be contaminated (mud can host a variety of animals and larva, which along with random debris that it gathers during its journey, can be very unsanitary).

All mud should be properly extracted before you even begin to embark on the cleaning process. Mud is extremely destructive, as it can damage homes as well as roads and it can also clog sewers.

Can you Save Your Furniture After Water Damage?

Here is where you’ll have to consider whether your furniture is a loss after water damage, especially if it appears pretty dire in terms of saving. If you have upholstered furniture or any mattresses that have been affected by water damage, you should get rid of them right away to prevent contamination from spreading.

Sometimes we all feel tied to things. If you have pieces of furniture that have a sentimental value or antiques and you just can’t bear to part with them, here are some tips on dealing with those.

If they are upholstered pieces, removing all of the upholstery and stuffing may be your best bet. This will allow you to clean the frame of your furniture, so that it can be reupholstered. You should be able to save most plastic, wood and metal furniture, but make sure that it is properly cleaned.

Carpets can be another major issue, and if they’ve had sufficient water damage then unfortunately they may have to go as well. Contaminants from the water can get deeply soaked into your carpet’s fibers, and they can be harmful. If you feel a carpet is worth saving, then give cleaning it a try. If your home or business has wall-to-wall carpeting, you should remove not just the carpet but the carpet pads as well, so that the floors can properly dry. If you use a carpet pad, that will also need to be discarded.

You may be able to save items such as blankets, throw rugs and miscellaneous bedding, if they’re easy to clean. The best way to do this is to bring them outside and clean them with soapy water, or another cleaning solution that you think might work, and use the power of the hot Austin sun to air-dry them.

Flooding and Water Damage can Greatly Impact Your Austin Food and Water Quality

Water: Once your property has had a flood or any other kind of water damage, you should be aware that you may have issues with your home water system. Never go in thinking that your water is safe and ready to use. As a precaution, you should contact your water company and the public health department, and let them investigate whether or not your water is safe. Contaminated water is not safe to drink and should not be used for washing and cooking under any circumstances.

Bacterial infections tend to be a high occurrence in the aftermath of a water damage disaster, so you may have to boil water before use it initially, until you remedy all problems. If you don't take these precautions, the water from your system can be heavily contaminated, which in turn can be extremely dangerous, so check with the public health department regarding any contaminants.

Food: In the aftermath of serious water damage, you have to assess how safe your food is. It’s not advisable to keep anything perishable. However, if you have canned goods and they haven’t come into contact with any contaminated water, then you might still be able to use them.

One way to save your canned goods, if they’ve not been affected, is to peel off the labels, and then wash the cans in a mix of bleach and potable water (you can use 1TB of bleach per gallon of water), which will basically kill any potential contaminants and help to disinfect items.

Once dry, re-label each can with a permanent marker, and add the expiration date as some canned goods can last for a few years. If you have food in plastic or foil pouches (known as retort pouches, similar to the Army’s ready to eat meals), you may find that these are safe, as long as the pouches aren’t broken or compromised in any way.

If your cooking utensils have been contaminated, then you should definitely throw them out. Any utensils and items made out of wood or plastic should be trashed. This includes bottles, cutting boards, spatulas, cups, spoons, etc., But not all is lost: the good thing is that kitchen utensils made out of metal, and items made out of glass or porcelain, can also be saved in soaked if the aforementioned bleach and water solution.

Water Damage in Austin and Repairing Your Floors

If you've coated the floors of your Austin home or business with polyurethane (or any other similar coating), be aware that they can still experience water damage. Some varnishes do protect wood to some degree, but they shouldn't be considered as an impenetrable wall that will protect your wood floors forever. Even an outside deck that has been continuously treated and been through years of rain may deteriorate over time, allowing for rot to set in.

Every drying procedure is different, and drying procedures can vary in length after water damage, with much of it based on how much damage has taken place. Floors need extra special care and attention when this happens. Don’t rush the restoration process, because then you'll have to deal with wooden planks that may buckle, bend and even crack if they’re not properly dried. If you’re thinking of attempting to renovate your wood floors, make sure that they’re completely dry before beginning any repairs.

Vinyl floors can also fall victim to excessive water damage. Vinyl floors come as either large sheets, that you’d find in a kitchen, or they are interlocking planks that resemble wood. Once vinyl gets wet, it can buckle and crack and needs to be replaced…which will also help your subfloor to completely dry out. Don’t reuse the vinyl; just replace it; after water damage, vinyl won’t be salvageable.

Preventing the Spread of Water Damage in the Walls of Your Austin Home or Business

Should floodwater severe water damage affect your Austin property, there’s a chance that your walls may also experience water damage. In the event that this happens, you’ll probably have to cut your walls open in order to dry them out. Wet walls can accumulate mold or rot if not properly ventilated and dried.

While cutting your walls open will be time consuming, it’s the best way to properly ventilate them. Even the smallest amount of water damage can spread and cause problems, and the last thing you want is a room full of mold, so this will help to prevent it from spreading. And be sure to remove any and all insulation, as it can also be contaminated.

If you have walls without insulation and you don’t want to cut them open, try drilling holes in the walls to help air get through. You should also remove baseboards if they become waterlogged, and be sure to remove any wet drywall, which can replaced once everything is dry.

Your walls will not dry overnight. In many cases, it may take up to a month for them to be fully dried out. Using humidifiers and fans will definitely help move the process along and may help cut the time in half. You should also open all of your windows, if possible, to allow for cross-ventilation. After everything dries out, you should use more durable materials such as wood paneling, foam insulation, and tiles, all of which can withstand excessive water.

Other Problems That Can Result from Water Damage Austin

As we've focused on floors, furniture and walls in this section, you should also be aware of how water damage can cause problems for your air conditioning and heating system, your air ducts, your sewage system, your water well (if you have one on your property), your foundation and your roof. Excessive water saturation and water damage can impact the overall condition of these elements of your home or office, if you've experienced a flood or a storm.

Be very careful not to use your heat or air conditioning until it's dry and safe to use. Make sure that the electricity is turned off and your system is disconnected, prior to having it inspected for any water damage. If you find water has gotten into your air ducts, you’ll need to have those cleaned and aired out as well.

Remember that any type of water, including floods, heavy rain, or even a minor leak if unchecked, can cause a major headache and extensive water damage. In many cases, if the damage is minor, you may be able to remedy the situation on your own. This is not always the case, however, and sometimes the situation is far more extreme and requires professional assistance. Attempting to remedy a potentially hazardous situation on your own, especially if you’re not prepared, can be disastrous for you, your business or your family.

Are You in Need of Help with Your Water Extraction and Water Damage Restoration?

Give Our Austin SERVPRO Team a Call

If you’re not sure that you can tackle the water extraction & water damage restoration by yourself, then a water extraction & water damage restoration company like our local SERVPRO team is there for you. Our employees are a group of dedicated, trained & certified professionals available 24/7 in order to assist you with your water damage Austin needs.

We specialize in water damage removal and restoration, and we will take every effort to properly restore your property in the aftermath of water damage from Austin storms, floods, leaks or whatever your particular situation.

We'll help you review the magnitude of your water damage repairs along with an advance water damage inspection and state of the art extraction equipment that will make the restoration process a stress free experience.

As a locally owned Austin company, our focus is on the community that we serve. We understand how stressful this experience can be when your Austin property has experienced water damage.

Our SERVPRO Austin Team consists of highly trained water restoration technicians who are able to provide guidance and much needed resources, and there is no job too big or small for our Austin team.

We are trained and certified professionals ready and willing to help with your water restoration repairs. If you require water damage repairs and restoration, contact our local SERVPRO company today.

Water Extraction and Water Damage Cleanup: Should You Attempt This on Your Own?

6/30/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Extraction and Water Damage Cleanup: Should You Attempt This on Your Own? Extensive water damage from flooding in a TX neighborhood.

Water Extraction and Water Damage Cleanup in Austin

If your Austin home or business has experienced a flood or extensive water damage, you’ll need sufficient time to review the damage and determine what you’ve lost. Whether or not the restoration is something you can handle on your own will likely weigh on whether the water damage is minimal or excessive, and if you require water extraction.

If you do require water extraction, then you may not want to tackle this on your own, especially if your Austin home or business is severely flooded. In that case it's best to reach out to a water extraction and water damage restoration company like our local SERVPRO office.

If you have minor water damage it may not be difficult to handle the cleanup on your own, but you should be cautious, especially if you come across mold or other issues typically related to water damage.

While you’re determining if this is something that you can handle on your own, you need to be aware of the impact and long-term effects that extensive water damage can have on your health, safety and your home or business. If you’re up for the challenge and are sure that you can take this on by yourself, please be aware of the following risks and be prepared:

Assessing and Preparing for Water Damage Cleanup & Water Extraction

Before getting started with any type of water damage cleanup or extraction, it’s important to follow some basic safety procedures:

  1. First, you have to be sure that your home or business is safe to enter. Electrical problems can be tricky, so if there is damage that might have caused electrical problems, like downed or exposed wires, or if there is so much water and you need water extraction and you’re not sure that you should go in, then don’t risk it. Best thing to do is to get in touch with an electrician, who will check if your power lines and circuits are secured before you begin. If it looks as if too much damage has occurred, they you may clearly have electrical problems.
  1. Be sure that that there are no potential gas leaks or additional fire hazards. Be sure to have a battery-powered flashlight with you at all times. Never use a lighter or matches if there’s even the slightest chance of a leak. A spark from a match or a lighter can ignite a fire, so be very careful.
  1. As there are a variety of cleaning solutions out there, you should be cautious when selecting the right one. Pure chlorine bleach works, but so does ammonia and vinegar…however, you should never mix any of these together, as they can create an extremely toxic and harmful chlorine gas. Do some investigative work to see which one is the best for this type of project and use only that one.
  1. It’s important, before you begin, that you have plenty of protective clothing, such as goggles, boots, rubber gloves and especially a respirator, because some the air may be toxic. You should be fully protected as any floodwater water damaged material may be riddled with contaminants.
  1. Keep a look out for animals. All kinds of insects and other creatures can be attracted by Austin floodwater. Snakes, fire ants and mosquitoes are just of the few that can be drawn to water…so be careful.

It’s no secret that cleaning is a very crucial part of the water damage cleanup process; it’s not something that can be done overnight. Many of the items in your Austin home or business may in fact be salvageable, but you may find that some things just have to go. In this case it’s best to reach out to a water damage specialist, otherwise you may find yourself doing all of the cleaning, water extraction and repairs on your own.

Of course, you may feel that you need to get right in and start cleaning right away, but before you embark on any type of cleaning or cleanup, you’ll need to make sure that all the water is removed and that all the relative elements of your Austin property are properly dried out.

Let’s look at wood floors: if you have wood floors, and it turns out that they’re fully soaked, they’ll have to properly dry out before you can do any type of water damage restoration. You may actually have to remove and replace all of the floors if it’s that bad. Venturing into new construction, before the structure is completely dry, will also be problematic as you may encounter mold, which over time will cause your property to deteriorate. It’s very important to make sure that everything is dried out before you even begin moving forward.

Our local SERVPRO company uses top-quality drying equipment for our water damage cleanup & restoration jobs. Keep in mind that if you're not entirely sure of the extent of your damage, or whether you're really capable of cleaning it up properly on your own (remember, some effects of water damage may not be all that noticeable at first) then you should be safe and contact a professional water extraction and water damage restoration company, like our Austin-based SERVPRO company.

Other issues, such as mud, food and water safety, home furnishing restoration, and how to deal with wet floors and walls, among others will be covered in Part 2 of this article, Tips on Dealing with Major Water Damage Issues.

Tips for Preventing Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business

6/16/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Tips for Preventing Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business Fire damage, leading to additional water damage, smoke damage and more. Tips on how to prevent fire from occurring in your Austin property.

Keeping Your Austin Property Safe from a Fire

Austin residents and business owners often don't realize the many steps they can take to prevent their home or business from becoming the victim of a fire. Here's are some helpful tips, explaining how to better protect your home or business from possible fire hazards.

If you've already experienced a fire, and aren't sure what to expect in terms of fire damage repairs and cleanup, be sure to check out our article, How to Handle Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business.

1. Fireplaces and Chimneys: If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove in Austin, it’s highly recommended that your chimney be cleaned regularly by a professional at least once a year. Creosote buildup from excessive use can start a hazardous chimney fire, and you can suffer a good amount of damage before you realize a chimney fire has begun.

Have your chimney cleaned by a professional at least once a year. Don't rely on creosote-reducing logs to clean your chimney for you. These logs are seen as a quick fix, but they will not be able to remove all of the creosote, nor should they in any manner be a replacement for a professional chimney sweep and maintenance.

Ongoing basic maintenance of your fireplace or stove, will greatly improve its performance and will help prevent chimney fires and other types of fire damage repairs from being needed in the future.

When using a wood burning stove or fireplace, you'll also want to make sure you never dump your ashes in the trash, as the ashes can smolder for long periods of time. When disposing of ashes, be sure to take them outside directly and dispose of them in a safe manner.

2. Dryers and Lint: Many people don't realize that lint can be a strong fire hazard. It's important to remove lint from your dyer every time you use it. Lint is combustible, and when heat builds up in the dryer vents, a spark can occur if the flow of air is restricted.

The lint can catch fire. In addition to removing the lint out of your filter, be sure to also check your dryer duct tubes for any lint buildup.

3. Fire Hazards that Stem from Outside the Home: Austin is known to experience grass fires and wildfires every once in a while. If you have a firewood pile near your home, you should move it and any other potential burnable items, such as twigs and leaves.

If wood and leaves are dry and next to your property, they can go up in flames fairly quickly, causing major fire damage. In the kitchen, flammable items, such as dishrags, paper bags and other flammables should be kept away from your stove and oven. And it goes without saying, if you’re a smoker, try not to smoke inside, and be careful when you do smoke.

4. Surge Protectors, a Worthy Investment: Not every property has abundant electrical outlets to run our gadgets, computers, and stereos. If this is the case, then a surge protector can be very beneficial in the long run.

Surge protectors are designed to replace outdated multi outlet power strips in the event of a power spike or a shut off during an electric storm or power outage. If you have an old style power strip with so many cords sticking out of it that it looks like an octopus, then you know it’s time to upgrade. 

Surge protectors are worthy investments, because most power strips are often cheaply made and can overload your circuits, leading to fires and fire damage.

5. Upgrade with New Extension Cords: We all have extension cords in cabinets, drawers or in the garage. However, some of them may be quite old and not as functional as they once were. It's important to use extension cords that are durable and high quality.

If you have extension cords that are more than a few years old, you should replace them with new ones of durable quality. Frayed and mangled cords are unreliable; they can spark, go up in smoke and can lead to fire damage.

6. Smoke Outside: We know that smoking isn't good for us, and we're not here to sell you on quitting smoking. But if you are a smoker, do your best to smoke outside.

And keep yourself a slight distance from your property. Smoldering cigars and cigarettes can fall and start a fire regardless if you’re inside or outside.

Make sure you don't smoke while in bed. Many fires are started by individuals who fall asleep while smoking…do as much as you can to prevent this from happening.

7. Lightning: While lightning is natural occurrence, and something that we can't control, you can take certain preventative measures to keep your Austin home or business from being hit by lightning. This guide by the National Lightning Safety Institute offers some helpful ideas on how to lightning-proof your property.

8. Check Your Electrical Wiring: Like anything else, time takes its toll on electrical wiring within your home or business. It's important to have your electrical wiring checked regularly by an electrician to avoid electrical fires from occurring in your Austin property.

How Our Local SERVPRO Office Can Help in the Event of Fire Damage

If your Austin-based home or business has suffered from fire damage, it’s important to quickly repair and restore as much of your property as possible.

A fire can be devastating, and the additional damage from a fire can include smoke damage, water damage, mold and more. SERVPRO of East Central Austin will take every effort to remediate and restore your property after a fire. We’re here to help you evaluate the overall scope of your fire damage repairs and provide the proper equipment and expertise to ensure a smooth restoration process.

We’re a locally owned Austin company, and we care about the community that we serve. We recognize how overwhelmed you're likely to be after experiencing a fire. We have the resources to help guide you through this time, and our employees are trained and certified professionals, who have the experience and know-how to handle your fire damage repairs. If you’re in need of fire damage restoration, call our local Austin SERVPRO office today: 512-420-9886.

How to Handle Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business

6/9/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Handle Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business Fire engulfing a home, leading to extensive fire damage & smoke damage.

Having your property be victim to a fire is probably one of the scariest things a person can experience. Although there are different types of fires, any fire can wreak havoc on your Austin based home or business, leaving you with extensive fire damage repairs. A small fire may not be as severe; you may be able to make some of these repairs on your own. But if the fire damage is extreme, you’ll need to reach out to a professional fire damage restoration company.

Here are some tips that will help you understand the different types of fire damage, how they can affect your property, and how you can take certain actions to prevent fires before they begin.

What Should You Do if a Fire Occurs in Your Austin based Home or Business?

A fire occurs and you manage to get everyone out of the house/building… Once the fire is out, the first thing you’ll want to do is review all of the fire damage. It may be extreme or it may be minimal, but you’ll need to act quickly in determining the extent of the damage, and deciphering if professional fire damage restoration will be needed to fix your Austin property.

Minor damage may be easy to fix on your own, extreme damage will most likely be beyond your ability to repair it. There’s a possibility you’ll need to replace your furniture if it’s been severely damaged, as well as your cabinets, doors, walls and even floorboards.

Even your roof can be subject to fire damage, requiring repair. Should your roof suffer damage, you’ll have to protect the rest of your home or business from not just foreign objects, like falling branches, but also high winds and rainstorms, which happen quite often in Austin. Theft and looting is also a problem, so while assessing the damage to your property, you also need to secure it as best as possible…you shouldn’t have to be vandalized while trying to perform fire damage repairs.

Smoke Damage: An Inevitable Symptom of a Fire

While a fire has the tendency to lead to destruction, depending on its severity, smoke is one lingering effect that in some cases can be even worse, because it’s so difficult to clean. Should you have a small fire with limited fire damage repairs, smoke residue may be one of the most problematic elements. If the smoke residue isn't tackled quickly, you may find yourself dealing with persistent foul odors in your Austin property, as well as stained furniture, carpets walls and floors.

Believe it or not, there are several different types of smoke damage. Some are easy to remedy, while others need professional attention.

  • Dry Smoke occurs when a fire burns hot and fast. However, it’s often one of the easier types to clean, as the smoke is often quite dry and has a powdery texture.
  • Wet Smoke is often associated with smoldering fires at low temperatures. This has a tendency to leave strong odors and heavy smearing once the fire is put out. The smearing makes it difficult to clean.
  • Protein Residue: Paints and varnishes, like polyurethane can become discolored during a fire, and hard to clean. Elements such as this will most likely requires more intense fire damage repairs.
  • Oil residue results from fires in which petroleum products, such as propane, gasoline and diesel fuel, among others, are involved. The residue is often very sticky, making it time consuming to clean.

Water Damage: The Other Effect of Fire Damage

Water damage can play an integral role in a fire. While you may think that your pipes are safe, some of them are not quite as heat tolerant as others, depending on the material. Metal pipes tend to take the heat well, while plastic pipes usually don’t. If you have a fire, there’s a strong possibility that your pipes may burst from the heat, causing major water leaks and flooding in your Austin home or business.

Depending on the intensity of the fire, water will be needed to actually put it out, therefore causing another layer of damage to your property - water damage. It’s best to remove as much water as you can immediately. If left alone, the affected areas can fall victim to the spread of mold, and they will need to be properly cleaned, dried and remediated.

If you suffer from a large fire, you may find yourself overwhelmed and unable to tackle any repairs on your own. If you need fire damage repairs and/or smoke damage cleanup and water extraction in the Austin and Manor area, and the situation is beyond your control, SERVPRO of East Central Austin can help.

Additional Issues that Can Result from Fire Damage

Electrical wiring, plumbing and appliances can also be subject to fire damage. Even the tiniest amount of smoke can cause problems with your household appliances, since they’re manufactured to take limited amounts of heat. Smoke is also quite corrosive, which can cause appliances to overheat, cause a spark or break down in the process.

If your appliances experience problems, give them a thorough inspection, so they don’t cause problems down the road. In certain situations, you may actually spend less money replacing them than having them repaired.

Another potential problem you could face is if your Austin home or business has tight insulation. Tight insulation has the potential to create a heavy smoke buildup in the vent of a fire. The insulation can exacerbate the increase in temperature, which adds to the internal pressure. If extreme heat persists, the amount of pressure can cause windows and even doors to explode, leading to more repairs.

If you find yourself in a situation that is too much to handle on your own, with extensive fire damage repairs needed, and smoke and water damage cleanup as well, calling a professional fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of East Central Austin will certainly be your best bet.

Our professionally trained and certified SERVPRO team can lead you through the process, and help make your Austin fire damage "Like it never even happened." And in order to prevent fires in the future and help protect your Austin property from fire damage, be sure to check out Part 2 of this article: Tips for Preventing Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business.

10 Great Tips for Preventing Water Damage in Austin

5/24/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage 10 Great Tips for Preventing Water Damage in Austin A pipe that's leaking or a broken hose can cause an extensive amount of water damage to your Austin property.

Stop Water Damage Before It Starts in Your Austin Home or Business

The thought of water damage to your Austin home or business got you down? Water damage occurs frequently in Austin, but the good news is there are some preventative tips you can take to help prevent or stop water damage before it progresses.

Leaky pipes and faulty hoses are often guilty culprits that should not be ignored. While easily replaceable, if you don't regularly check for leaks in these items, you might find yourself getting into a situation with extensive and costly water damage to your Austin home or business that could be difficult to repair.

However, there are some steps you can take to prevent any kind of water damage to your Austin home or business. It’s as easy as checking all of your leaky pipes, hoses and appliances.

Internal Household Water Damage Problems and Solutions

1. Your Appliances Can Be Your Enemy

We hate to put it that way, but it's true. And while we all have a need for household appliances, they also need to be taken care of over time. If these appliances should have leaky pipes and hoses, then take note, severe water damage is not that far away.

When you take into account all the water that’s being used by your washing machine and dishwasher, it's understandable how little leaks can quickly turn into messy situations, and if this goes on unattended, you may find that professional water extraction may be necessary. A small tear in a hose or pipe can expand if left alone and leak up to 200 gallons of water daily.

Your refrigerator can also be a guilty party, especially if it has an ice maker, which, let's face it, most modern refrigerators do. Many refrigerators with ice makers have copper pipes that funnel water to help produce the ice.

Should these pipes bend or crack, or if they aren’t fastened properly, then you’ll likely be dealing with a water leak. Copper pipes have a tendency to bend, so give your refrigerator a space of a few inches, so that the pipes don't get crushed, and you should alleviate your chances of water damage issues.

Think of how much water goes through your dishwasher. Gallons of water actually pass through its supply and discharge pipes…now imagine a leak in those pipes and the amount of water damage if the pipes aren't checked regularly? It’s not a pretty picture, your entire kitchen can be filled with soapy water.

While cracks in the pipes can often be the cause of this, you should also keep the pipes clear of food, which can break off during the wash cycle and clog your pipes. Be sure to always wash and rinse your dishes, cups and silverware before running your dishwasher, and make sure your dishwasher is full before you start it. Making sure it's full will use the water more effectively and help to prevent any possible flooding.

2. Give Your Water Main an Inspection

Locating where your water main is can also help prevent water damage. While Austin is usually warm, we do occasionally experience freezing temps in the winter. If the weather goes below freezing and stays there for a while, this can affect the integrity of your plumbing. Freezing temperatures and frost in Austin can cause damage to your plumbing and water main, especially if your outdoor spigots start to leak.

If you suspect leaks, the first test is to find your water main and turn it off, so you can check for any leaking pipes inside and outside. If you see any unexpected water leakage, such as a puddle on the floor or water stained walls, you may have a problem and if it's a real problem, you could require water extraction by a professional company like SERVPRO of East Central Austin. If it hasn't gone on too long, you may be able to remedy this with changing some pipes and hoses, but if it persists, then you should call a professional for more investigative work.

3. Upgrade Your Washing Machine Hoses to Prevent Increased Chances of Water Damage

If your washing machine has a leaky hose or a broken supply line, you could face major flooding. Washing machines hoses are actually a leading cause of water damage, because they’re used so frequently that they have a greater tendency to leak and break over multiple uses. This is why it’s important to inspect your washing machine hoses several times throughout the year for any kind of leaks as well as wear and tear. Another way to help determine if your washer has a leak is to install an automatic shut off valve, which will shut off the machine if pools of water should appear.

Shut-off valves vary in price, depending on what type you get, but can actually save you a bundle if you use them as a preventive measure against flooding and water damage.

4. Keep an Eye on Water Pressure in Your Austin home or Business

Another issue that can cause water damage Austin is if your water pressure is set too high. Checking the water pressure can help reduce the overall flow of water in your home or business. Using a water pressure gauge will help determine the correct flow through your hoses and pipes; they can be purchased at most hardware stores and are easy to operate. Simply attach the gauge to an outdoor faucet, turn on the water at full force and you’ll see the reading.

Standard water pressure should usually be between 40 to 70 psi. If you find that the pressure is, in fact, at too high a level, it can greatly affect your pipes and hoses. If your pressure exceeds 100 psi, then you’ll probably need a pressure regulator, which can help bring the pressure down.

5. Water Detectors: A Worthy Investment

Water detectors can be extremely helpful if you’re unable to check your hoses and pipes on a frequent basis. They are definitely helpful in identifying water leaks and preventing water damage Austin in addition to mold.

They are fairly affordable electronic devices that detect low moisture levels and alert you when water or moisture makes an unwanted appearance. They’re important in that they help find leaks and water spots that are often missed. It's recommended to get several of these to place near appliances, such as toilets, dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, and sump pumps.

6. Check Your Water Bill

Another useful way to determine if you have leaks or pressure issues is to check your water bill. If your bill is pretty consistent, but then suddenly you notice a massive rise in cost, you may have a problem that needs further investigation to discover if you have leaks in your Austin business or home. Don’t ignore a rise in your water bill. You should thoroughly investigate places such as crawlspaces (some exist in Austin as well), under cabinets, walls, hoses and all of your indoor and outdoor plumbing for water damage. It may be inconvenient to check everything, but it’s better to be thorough, than to face the results of extensive water damage.

7. If You Live in Austin and Have a Leak, Get It Fixed

Any leak, even the smallest and most insignificant one, should be immediately addressed. While many leaks can be remedied with a simple repair, such as replacing a hose, others may require more extensive work and can become more serious if neglected. A burst pipe can cause major water damage, leading to the need for water extraction and water damage cleanup.

If the area is not properly cleaned, you’ll begin to see the spread of mold, mildew and dry rot.

Preventing External Water Damage Problems in Austin

8. Keep Track of Your Garden/Lawn Hoses

Whether you like to garden or you occasionally water the plants in the backyard, we often leave our garden hoses attached to the outdoor spigot. While it’s common to do this in Austin, where it’s usually warm, it’s not advisable in colder weather. Granted, Austin doesn't have a typical winter like the northeast and midwest, but it does get cold here, and if you leave your hoses connected when there’s a freeze, then there can be problems. There is actually a very substantial risk for water damage if you leave your hoses connected during a freeze.

Standing water in a hose can be a big problem as the water, once it freezes, can create a chunk of ice that gets lodged and prevents the flow of water. There is a high risk your pipes will burst if this type of blockage occurs, which can be expensive to remedy. Burst pipes can wreak havoc on your floors, walls and even your foundation. So always be sure to disconnect your hoses in the winter in Austin.

9. Clogged Gutters and Downspouts: Another Potential Water Damage Problem in Austin

If you ignore your gutters, and don't clean them often, you can face potential water damage. With leaves and branches flying all over the place, it’s inevitable that they will find their way into your gutters and get stuck. Once they get stuck, then the proper flow of water is restricted, and water can splatter all over your walls, causing not just problems with your gutters, but also with your foundation over time.

Gutters should be cleaned roughly twice a year to ensure that there’s a proper flow with no blockages. You should also check your roof if possible for any standing water; not only can these breed mosquitoes, but if the water just sits there, it can damage your roof, and those repairs are expensive.

In addition to your gutters, check your downspouts, which can also become blocked if neglected. Always point them away from your structure, so that water doesn't come in contact with your foundation. This will help prevent water damage Austin as the water is relocated away from your walls and flows into your yard.

10. Trees and Vegetation Can Affect your Pipes

If you have underground plumbing, utility pipes or a sprinkler system in your backyard, then there will be potential for your trees and shrubs to come into contact with your pipes. If not monitored, the roots of the trees and shrubs can become problematic. Their roots can actually grow deep into the ground and wrap themselves around your pipes. If you find you have problems with your utility pipes in Austin, then the roots may in fact be strangling them. If this is the case, then you may have to dig up and move trees, shrubs or other types of vegetation to get to the root of the problem (no pun intended).

How SERVPRO of East Central Austin Can Help

If you experience water damage and your damage is beyond something you can remedy on your own, SERVPRO of East Central Austin provides 24-hour emergency service for water damage needs. Our highly trained technicians will respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.

We can help with all aspects of water damage Austin, including water extraction, water damage cleanup and water damage restoration. We use only top of the line equipment for our cleanup services, and we make it "Like it never even happened."

Need help with your water damage issues? Call our local SERVPRO company today at (512) 420- 9886.

How to Prevent Water Damage in Austin

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage How to Prevent Water Damage in Austin Water damage is a common problem in Austin, due to flooding issues.

Some of the biggest causes of water damage in Austin are excessive rain, floods, and storms. However, water damage can occur in a variety of other ways as well –from leaky pipes, broken hoses, faulty vents and clogged toilets in your home or commercial property. All of these can create a multitude of problems.

Consider this: If you have a small pipe in your Austin home or office, and there’s even a hairline crack in it, you could be leaking up to 200 gallons of water a day. Annual routine inspections of your pipes and appliances that use water, such as dishwashers, sinks, bathroom plumbing, washing machines, refrigerators, as well as replacing any hoses that are problematic will help prevent leaks before they happen or get out of hand.

While minor leak repair can save you a lot in the end, nothing can really prepare you for excessive flooding, especially in cities like Austin, Texas that are prone to heavy periods of rain and flooding. If you experience heavy water damage, flood and water damage to your home or business, then water damage restoration by a commercial cleaning service will be a necessity.

Harmful Types of Water Damage

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), states that there are three different types of water that can be harmful, because of their potential contaminants. These classifications often have no relation to storms or floods.

1) Clean Water: Clean water is often the result of an appliance that leaks or eventually breaks down. Overall, it’s not as dangerous as #s 2 & 3, but it shouldn't be ignored, as this type of water can cause problems down the road.

2) Grey Water: Grey water is wastewater without the fecal contamination, but that doesn't mean it’s not contaminated. Grey water derives from plumbing problems, including leaks, seepage, clogged dishwashers, washing machines and toilets that overflow. If not addressed, grey water can contain a large amount of biological contaminants that will make you sick, especially if you have asthma, allergies or respiratory problems.

3) Black Water: This type of water damage is considered extremely dangerous as it can host harmful bacteria derived from sewage backup, floodwater and backed up toilets. The abundance of contaminated waste in black water should not be taken lightly, as the waste and pathogens can produce harmful bacteria that can be detrimental to your health if not remediated immediately.

The Four Classes of Water Damage in Austin

While water can greatly damage a home or business, in most cases it’s the time frame of how the water evaporates that’s responsible for different levels of damage. The longer the evaporation, the more harmful the damage will likely be.

According to the IICRC, there are four different classes of water damage, all of which are based on their levels of toxicity. Porosity also plays a large role in the extent of the damage. If an Austin home or business uses materials with low porosity, then it’s likely that the materials will absorb a minimum of the overall moisture. Minor floods can cause damage to carpets, but if ignored, then the water will eventually seep into the walls and can weaken the stability of the structure. Temperature and the time frame in which the damage is cleaned can greatly impact the spread of toxins, including mold. This is why it’s crucial to immediately address and remediate any type of water damage, so that it doesn't gestate and cause further problems.

Class 1 is characterized by a slow rate of evaporation that usually affects building materials with low porosity. This means that the materials can actually absorb the water, which is usually a limited amount impacting a small part of a room, or even larger rooms with materials that can take in limited moisture.

Larger amounts of water can be ranked as Class 2. Here, the amount of water can impact an entire room, leaving carpeting and furniture at risk. Signs include water creeping up walls and staining them, causing damage to most structural materials.

Class 3 involves the greatest amount of water damage, with water soaked ceilings, walls, insulation and carpeting. In most cases, an entire room or house has fallen victim to the water damage.

Class 4 mainly revolves around the extent of drying time and if any building materials are salvageable. Of course this all depends on the overall extent of the damage. If your Austin home or business is made of materials with low or no porosity (brick, concrete, plaster, stone and wood), then there’s a greater chance that it will be harder to properly remediate the water damage. The materials may have experienced such saturation that it will take low specific humidity to prevent further issues.

Additional Water Damage Problems

Wood Damage

While materials such as sheet rock, plaster and insulation can be affected by water damage, wood is also susceptible. If you have an older structure, largely constructed out of wood, water damage can affect the ceiling beams and floorboards. Excess water if not properly remediated, can waterlog beams and cause extensive damage and sagging from the excess weight. If the damage is extreme, them beams and floorboards, including the subfloor, may have to be replaced. In addition to the possibility of wood sagging for the water, beams and floorboards can also become warped and bring on mold and mildew. If caught early and properly dehumidified, the wood can be properly dried out and not have to be replaced.

Some Ideas on Preventing Water Damage

As Austin is particularly susceptible to flooding, you should prepare yourself and your property from any potential water damage that flooding can cause.

  • Gutters: Most people don’t regularly clean their gutters. Leaves, twigs and other objects land in your gutters and just sit there. When a storm occurs, all of those objects will most likely stay there and clog the downspouts. With nowhere to go, all that water can run down the side of your house and business and seep into the foundation, walls and floors, leading to water damage and mold. Keep your gutters clean and if you have downspouts, position them at least ten feet from your structure, so that the water doesn't have contact with your structure.
  • Sump Pumps: If your Austin home has a basement, you should always check your sump pump to make sure that it’s working, especially when inclement weather is on the rise.
  • Fixing Leaks: It’s important to maintain the quality of hoses and pipes, by repairing any leaks that you may find. Pipes can leak through sealant and caulk if it’s old. Check for dark spots around pipes, as well as on the ceiling. Replace any damaged or loose shingles on your roof; this can help stop leaks and also prevent your roof from rotting in the future.

Also, be sure to check out our article: 10 Great Tips for Preventing Water Damage in Austin.

By taking some routine steps to prevent water damage, your home or business should be able to withstand a flood or rainstorm. However if you should experience water damage, and are not able to remedy it on your own, you will need to call a professional cleaning service, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin, to take care of it for you.

The Water Restoration Process

10/13/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage The Water Restoration Process Armando is strategically placing an air mover at one of our downtown Austin commercial jobs. There's science involved in water damage restoration.

SERVPRO of East Central Austin

The Water Restoration Process

A flood, burst pipe, sewage backup or any form of disaster can happen without warning affecting your home or business. It's stressful and many times you don't know what to do or who to call. SERVPRO of East Central Austin can help immediately to stop damage from worsening and restore property and belongings to make it like it never happened.

Calling SERVPRO of East Central Austin at (512) 420-9886 quickly is imperative to increase the possibility of salvaging and restoring your belongings and property including drywall and flooring. It doesn't take long for water to permanently damage organic material. In fact, it only takes hours to leave property with irreversible water damage. If our certified technicians are called immediately we can respond quickly and often save and restore water damage and lesson the chance of secondary issues such as microbial growth.

That being said, first call SERVPRO of East Central Austin so that we can respond to your emergency as quickly as possible. After arriving our technicians will do a thorough inspection with our moisture readers to determine the extent of and where there is potential for water damage and how far the moisture has traveled. Once assessed, our production team will use heavy duty water extractors (powerful pumps and vacuum units) capable of removing hundreds or thousands of gallons of water to pump out standing water and areas of property saturated with water.

Next, our technicians use room measurements, temperatures from various locations and relative humidity to determine the appropriate number of air movers and dehumidifiers needed to dry your home or business. Our air movers are strategically placed to evaporate excess moisture from belongings and property while dehumidifiers reduce the moisture content of the air, hastening the drying process. Once dry SERVPRO of East Central Austin uses cleaning techniques to provide sanitizing, deodorization and disposal to decrease the possibility of microbial growth.

Odor Removal and Deodorization

We are trained to identify and deodorize offensive odors when necessary. Our technical expertise and industrial grade air scrubbers and fogging equipment go well beyond simply masking odors and other shortcuts that don’t work when your odor problem is serious or persistent.

Sanitizing Treatments

Depending on the scenario, we may use antimicrobial, antibacterial, or disinfectant treatments to clean your property.


We will remove and dispose of damaged materials with guidance from you and your insurance adjuster.

Restoring Your Austin Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

7/11/2016 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at Austin commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of East Central Austin

SERVPRO of East Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.